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Fiction

The Road is Bleak

the road coverThe future looks bleak. Post-apocalyptic. The World is burned to ashes. The earth is strewn with charred, desiccated, mummified corpses. Houses are left abandoned. Because food is scarce, cannibals roam the earth. A man and his son making their way to the south, to the beach, to reunite with the good guys. Carting their blankets, armed with pistols with two bullets, always suspecting someone is after them. The pistols are not inspired to use it to kill the enemies, but for suicide if they ever got caught by the bad guys. They ransack houses looking for food supplies. Some days they starve; one fine day they stumbled upon canned food stored in a basement.

The man pledges unwavering love to protect his son. He remembers how his beautiful world used to be like.

Towards the middle of the story, you knew one of them is going to die. You don’t really know where they are heading. You might even grow to resent the man. As his son pleaded to his father to help the young boy, the old man and many others they came across on the road. But his father vehemently refused. How can we help when we don’t have enough? If we help, we might die.

 Do you want me to tell you a story? asked the man.
No.
Why not?
Those stories are not true.
They don’t have to be true. They’re stories.
Yes, But in the stories we’re always helping people and we don’t help people.

It’s about faith, about humanity, about love, about beliefs and principles, about death, about moving forth even the challenges seem insurmountable.

the roadI finish this book in one sitting. The prose is sparse. I appreciate the simplicity and it reads like a ramble, narrating every laborious effort to scour for food and stay warm. Contrary to the popular views, this novel doesn’t work for me. One of the few times I ever go against what the majority thinks.

I don’t know what to think of it. I think I will stop here.

Verdict: 2/5

The Road  the novel was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2006. A film adaptation of the novel is currently in post-production. It is directed by John Hillcoat and written by Joe Penhall. The film stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi-Smit-McPhee as the Man and the Boy, respectively. Production has taken place in Louisiana, Oregon, and several locations in Pennsylvania including Preque Isle State Park and the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike. It is due for release on October 16, 2009

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.

Discussion

One thought on “The Road is Bleak

  1. I read this book on a plane trip-I left it on the plane when I was done with it-to me the book is a mix of Hemingway and Mad Max-one thing I noticed in the book was his several references to “squid ink”-this is supposed to invoke a feeling of sinister darkness but over much of S E Asia and the Philippines it is used in cooking-it came across real silly like comparing blood to kethcup-I know this was an accident as the author clearly did not know much about squid ink-I rate the book a dont bother but lots of smart people love it

    Posted by Mel u | January 31, 2010, 10:56 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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